May they never be forgotten…..
This beautiful Memorial serves as a serene and reflective space to reminisce and reflect as one walks the path of heroes. The Memorial also serves to educate visitors and is a stately and expansive design fitting to hold ceremonies and programs. The valiant courage, bravery, and selflessness of our Connecticut men and women who served and sacrificed will never be forgotten. This Memorial is a permanent tribute to forever honor and remember their unselfish devotion, patriotism, heroism, service and sacrifice. We can never repay all they have stood for and done in the name of freedom.
A small core of dedicated and hard working individuals came together to bring the dream of this beautiful Memorial tribute to fruition over the past six years with the help of many caring and generous donors and volunteers, including the support of the City of Middletown and the State of Connecticut.
Past and present Board Members 2011 – Present:
Sue Martucci, Angelo Martucci, Diane DeLuzio, Mark DeLuzio,
Cheryl LaFlamme-Miller, Elaine Poplawski, Roger Beliveau,
Rose Nolan, John Scanlon, Nancy Rousselle, Ann Walsh,
2017-2018 goals for the Memorial include:
- funding, designing, creation and installation of two large granite plaques in the monuments in the Entrance Plaza – one to honor our military working dogs and the other to show awareness and empathy for veterans suffering with PTSD.
- the installation of gardens near the Ceremonial Plaza and other landscaping and lighting additions
- funding and installation of a cap on the sitting wall in the Ceremonial Plaza
- creation of Friends of the Memorial (see Become a Friend Tab)
- educational tours of the Memorial (see Become a Friend Tab)
- increased usage of Veterans Park for veteran groups (see Become a Friend Tab)
The Memorial’s Design
Click to enlarge The Connecticut Trees of Honor Memorial design was carefully considered and appropriately influenced by the Gold Star families of Connecticut. Our Fallen Heroes are no longer with us but their memory lives on in the hearts of their loved ones, our State and the Nation. The Memorial design was planned to provide a winding and flowing design that is handicapped accessible, in concert with nature, and beautiful in its simplicity.
The Entrance Plaza Visitors enter the Memorial via a large and stately custom cut, stone faced, Entrance Plaza. A floor of gray paving stones in a half circle shape leads to two 10’ tall square, stone pillars bearing a handsome 18’ wrought iron, arcing overhead sign.
The pillars hold 4, 84” x 18” silver and black aluminum plaques containing information about the Memorial – 2 on the front of the pillars and 2 as one walks through the span. The pillars are each connected to 5’6” tall by 6’ wide stone monument designed to hold a future laser etched, black granite panel that will pay tribute to our military working dogs. The other matching panel will hold a future laser etched, black granite panel in recognition of the silent wounds of war such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injuries; suffered by so many veterans throughout our nation’s history. Both monuments have stone faced, low sitting walls on either side, connecting to the Entry Pillars and are capped with bluestone. Hero Trees 65 flowering trees are planted for 65 fallen heroes encircling a large, aerated reflecting pond created for the Memorial design. The hero trees are the focus of this Memorial, planted as a tribute to the lives given but still very much alive in our hearts – Dogwood, Okame Cherry, Spring Snow Crabapple and Thundercloud Plums, planted in waves throughout the design. Hero Monuments In front of each hero tree stands a 3’ tall, square gray, granite monument quarried in Vermont and topped with a polished, black granite, laser etched plaque bearing the image, branch of service and personal information for each CT service member lost in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Walkway Approximately ¼ mile in distance from the Entrance Plaza and circling back, the 10’ wide, paved, handicapped accessible, winding, brick paver walkway allows visitors to easily see and access each hero tree and monument. Twelve, black steel benches bearing donor plaques are situated along the Memorial walkway.
First Tear Sculpture A life size, original, bronze sculpture named First Tear created especially for the CT Trees of Honor Memorial by Vietnam veteran and sculptor Andrew Chernak of Springfield, PA. is situated on a massive 30” light granite base in front of the three flagpoles in the Flag Ceremonial Plaza. Mr. Chernak also created a bronze sculpture to honor Gold Star Mothers located in Waterbury, CT City Hall. He is also commissioned to install a Gold Star Mothers sculpture in Arlington National Cemetery.
First Tear sculpture by Andrew Chernak. “This statue was inspired by the ultimate sacrifice of our brave military men and women. It is also reminiscent of my own memories as an Infantryman in Viet Nam. When time and situation allowed, our fallen were held and often knelt over by their brothers in arms. Tears were shed unashamedly by seasoned veterans and new men alike. Theirs were the first tears to fall for the American hero. Before their families knew of their loss, it was our honor to be their family until they were returned home. It is my hope that this statue honors them for their sacrifice and gives their families the knowledge and comfort that though far from home, their loved ones were with family. We will carry their memory with us for the rest of our lives. This statue strikingly reminds the visiting public of our debt to these brave American heroes.”
Flag Ceremonial Plaza Situated at the far back of the Memorial design behind the reflecting pond is a 50’ diameter, paved circle featuring three tall flagpoles and an arcing, 90’ low sitting wall framing the back side of the plaza. The Plaza is fitting for ceremonies and events. Surrounding the First Tear sculpture are hundreds of engraved bricks supporters donated to the Memorial project.
Flanking each side of the Plaza are two new rose gardens designed by Mrs. Jane Harris, of the Middletown Garden Club. The gardens are designed in a teardrop shape and were installed through the generosity of the Aetna Veterans (AetVets) who fundraised to purchase all the beautiful roses and perennials and volunteered to install the gardens Memorial Day 2017. A profusion of pink and lavender fills the gardens.They are a very handsome and welcome design addition to the Memorial.
911 Relic CT Trees of Honor is proud to have been awarded one of the last remaining steel relics from 911 give away program of the New York-New Jersey Port Authority – a twin rail that ran under the World Trade Center from the PATH (Port Authority Trans Hudson) line. The 15’ rail section is mounted on a replica train track directly in line with the flagpoles along the reflecting pond. An accompanying, pedestal-mounted cast aluminum plaque bearing images of that fateful day in our nation’s history, explains the September 11, 2001 tragedies, how CTHM received the relic and the symbolism of ‘the missing rail’.
Donors Walkway A special ‘Donor’s Walkway’ section of the Memorial to the right of the Entrance Plaza pays gratitude to major donors, volunteers and Board members with engraved bricks installed in ten rectangular designs along the walkway in gratitude for their dedication in realizing this beautiful and fitting tribute.
Directions and Location
The Connecticut Trees of Honor Memorial is located within Middletown’s Veteran Memorial Park that is easily reached from RT 9, RT 3, RT 66 and I-91. Park Entrances are located on Old Mill Road or Newfield Street (RT 3). There is plenty of parking directly across from the Memorial Entrance and visitors will find a wealth of eateries, local attractions and hiking trails close by. Veterans Memorial Park is open daily from approx. 7:00 AM until sunset. The park offers picnic pavilions, a public swimming pool and bathroom facilities that are open during the late spring/summer months. Please click for driving directions to the Memorial located on Walnut Grove Road in Middletown.
If you have any questions at all, please contact us by using our Contact Form on the Contact Page of the website.